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The Acupuncture Guru

Acupuncture effective for menstrual pain

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 11/07/16

Study shows acupuncture beats out medication in the treatment of menstrual pain. In a study in Hubei University School of Medicine in China, women were divided into two groups. One group was to receive acupuncture while the other was to be given the NSAID (Ibuprofen). The acupuncture group had an effectiveness rate of 98% while the medication group had an effectiveness rate of 58%.

Hi-tech acupuncture needles?

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 10/31/16

Scientists at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have applied nanotechnology to acupuncture needles creating "Porous Acupuncture Needles" (PANs), which research has shown to improve the transmission of nerve signalling. So far, however, there's no word if, or when, these needles will become available.

Acupuncture effective for headaches due to TBI

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 10/27/16

Acupuncture more effective that standard care in the treatment of headaches due to traumatic brain injury (TBI) according to a study conducted at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and at Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital.

Acupuncture for Diabetes

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 10/18/16

Acupuncture is effective for a wide variety of diabetes-related conditions. Diabetic gastroparesis, pathologically slow movement of food through the stomach and small intestine due to high glucose levels damaging the vagus nerve, is well treated by acupuncture. Acupuncture, as a complement to conventional treatment, has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and to lower blood glucose.

Acupuncture effective for depression and anxiety

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 09/16/16

Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of depression and anxiety. It also enhances the effects Paxil.

Acupuncture has been shown in a research study to improve outcomes in relieving mild to moderate depression and anxiety for patients who are currently taking paroxetine, also known by the brand name, Paxil.

Acupuncture effective for relieving migraines.

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 07/18/16

Studies demonstrate that acupuncture is an effective method for relieving migraines. Small clinical studies and large scale meta-analyses confirm the efficacy of acupuncture. Additional research demonstrates that acupuncture is an effective alternative to medications for the treatment of migraines with acupuncture demonstrating superior positive patient outcomes in both short and long-term results.

Acupuncture reduces medication requirements and post-surgical pain for gynecologic laparoscopy patients.

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 07/12/16

Researchers conclude that acupuncture for gynecologic laparoscopy patients reduces general anesthesia dosage requirements, decreases post-surgical pain, and improves the time to wake and time to fully alert after surgery. In a controlled investigation, acupuncture patients scored better in many other indices as well. Patients having received acupuncture during surgery had increased stability of the heart beat and improved blood pressure upon waking. The results were achieved by applying electroacupuncture to two acupuncture points located on hand and forearm.

Acupuncture Beneficial for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 06/08/16

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: adding acupuncture to conventional drug therapy improves outcomes.

Unanticipated Insights into Biomedicine from the Study of Acupuncture.

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 06/07/16


MacPherson H, et al. J Altern Complement Med. 2016.


Research into acupuncture has had ripple effects beyond the field of acupuncture. This paper identifies five exemplars to illustrate that there is tangible evidence of the way insights gleaned from acupuncture research have informed biomedical research, practice, or policy. The first exemplar documents how early research into acupuncture analgesia has expanded into neuroimaging research, broadening physiologic understanding and treatment of chronic pain. The second describes how the acupuncture needle has become a tool to enhance biomedical knowledge of connective tissue. The third exemplar, which illustrates use of a modified acupuncture needle as a sham device, focuses on emergent understanding of placebo effects and, in turn, on insights into therapeutic encounters in treatments unrelated to acupuncture. The fourth exemplar documents that two medical devices now in widespread use were inspired by acupuncture: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators for pain control and antinausea wrist bands. The final exemplar describes how pragmatic clinical trial designs applied in acupuncture research have informed current general interest in comparative effectiveness research. In conclusion, these exemplars of unanticipated outcomes of acupuncture research comprise an additional rationale for continued support of basic and clinical research evaluating acupuncture and other under-researched therapies.


 26745452 [PubMed - in process] 



Acupuncture Produces Anti-inflammatory Effects

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 06/06/16

Anti-inflammatory biochemical responses are stimulated by the application of acupuncture. As a result, the body decreases swelling associated with arthritis. In addition, acupuncture prevents postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions. The research is confirmed across several studies including laboratory investigations.

Zhang, R., L. H. Guo, Y. Yin, T. W. Chen, and W. Z. Ma. "Effect of Electroacupuncture on Serum TNF-?, IL-1? and Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 Levels in Rheumatoid Arthritis Rats." Zhen ci yan jiu= Acupuncture research/[Zhongguo yi xue ke xue yuan Yi xue qing bao yan jiu suo bian ji] 41, no. 1 (2016): 51.

McGuire, William, Adrian VS Hill, Catherine EM Allsopp, Brian M. Greenwood, and Dominic Kwiatkowski. "Variation in the TNF-? promoter region associated with susceptibility to cerebral malaria." (1994): 508-511.

Ouyang, Ba-si; Gao, Jie; Che, Jian-li; Zhang, Yin; Li, Jun; Yang, Hai-zhou; Hu, Tian-yan; Yang, Man; Wu, Yuan-jian; Ji, Ling-ling. Effect of electro-acupuncture on tumor necrosis factor-? and vascular endothelial growth factor in peripheral blood and joint synovia of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2011-07-01. Chinese Association of Traditional and Western Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. 672-0415, 505- 509 v17 issue 7.

Du, Ming-Hua, Hong-Min Luo, Yi-Jun Tian, Li-Jian Zhang, Zeng-Kai Zhao, Yi Lv, Rui-Jiang Xu, and Sen Hu. "Electroacupuncture ST36 prevents postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions formation." Journal of Surgical Research 195, no. 1 (2015): 89-98.

Acupuncture Outperforms Zantac in Study

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 06/03/16

In the treatment chronic gastritis, a Chinese study showed that acupuncture outperforms ranitidine, an H2 antihistamine commonly known by the brand name Zantac. While both acupuncture and ranitidine reduced or eliminated gastric mucosal lesions and inflammation, gastroscopy showed that acupuncture had a 96.4% efficacy while ranitidine had an efficacy rate of 69.9%.

Acupuncture for diabetes

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 06/02/16

New research indicates that combining acupuncture with metformin improves insulin sensitivity in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Patients that did received both acupuncture and took metformin can see decreases in both fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin levels. Other factors involved in insulin resistance also showed improvements. Considering that many patients with Type 2 diabetes are already taking metformin as prescribed by their physician, adding acupuncture can be a valuable complement to their therapy.

Mechanical stimulation shown to repair muscle

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 05/31/16

Mechanical stimulation shown to repair muscle. Although this study did not show the various methods we use in acupuncture, it is still very relevant to what we do. For example, there are particular ways to treat a very acute muscle strain; and when done appropriately significantly speed up healing. Also, needling stimulates mechanoreceptors in the fascia, which wrap every muscle, organ, etc. Among other things, this significantly changes the blood flow dynamics in the area being treated.

Trending in Acupuncture Research

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 08/05/14

It's been some time since the last post here. To keep up to date, please visit our Facebook page for the latest posts.

In a meta-analysis of studies involving over 17,000 patients, acupuncture has been proven effective in reducing chronic pain.

Acupuncture more effective as Claritin for initial symptom relief, and only acupuncture showed lasting improvements at 10 week follow up.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture effectively reduces frozen shoulder pain and restores functionality. I'm not surprised by this since I do this every day.

Acupuncture beneficial for elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment.

New Research on Acupuncture's Effect on Ovulation

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 06/11/13

Repeated acupuncture treatments result in higher ovulation frequency in lean/overweight women with PCOS.

Acupuncture's Effect on the Brain

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 06/10/13

Now this is fascinating: new studies show that acupuncture has neuroprotective effects, i.e. it protects the brain. This has all sorts of potential clinical implications such as the treatment of stroke victims.

When I was in Beijing about 15 years ago, these studies were already being done. So, I was well aware of the effects of acupuncture on the brain. In these studies, each acupuncture point stimulated elicited unique responses in the brain. Although this is one study, there are many that show acupuncture has an effect on the brain that affects the conditions being treated.


Acupuncture for Chronic Plantar Fasciitis

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 05/31/13

In the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis, electro-acupuncture coupled with conventional treatments provided a success rate of 80%, which was more effective than conventional treatments alone with effects lasting for at least six weeks.

Acupuncture Effective for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 05/30/13

A new study has found that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease as well as other diseases characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Acupuncture Research -- Hearing Loss

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 03/15/13

Research shows that acupuncture, specifically the acupoint SJ 3, helps with hearing loss. I find this very interesting especially because this is one of the main points I use for hearing-related disorders. I have found it very useful for those with meniere's disease; and have had people regain hearing.

The researchers note that manual manipulation of acupuncture point SJ3 (TB3, Zhongzhu) causes brain hemodynamic responses in the auditory cortex. The brain response is accompanied by an increase in auditory cortex signal strength thereby indicating a modulatory effect of acupuncture needle stimulation on the brain's ability to react to auditory stimuli.

Acupuncture Beneficial for Parkinson's Disease

by Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac. on 02/05/13

Acupuncture, particularly the acupoints of LV3 and GB 34, has been shown to slow the progress of Parkinson's by preventing the breakdown of an important brain-protecting enzyme.